Refuse to Return

I don’t believe that the solution for the present is to return to the past. Back when people didn’t use so much language. Back when people listened to better music. Back when young people were more respectful. Back when people went to church every Sunday. Back when there weren’t so many broken families. Back when the government did just what the founding fathers intended it to do. Back when clothes were more decent. Back when they did things the way you think things should be done.

It would be nice if everyone could start doing those things again. I’m sure it would help the society. It’s tempting to think that such a return would fix our culture.

I don’t agree. The past isn’t the answer.

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The past isn’t the answer because I really, really doubt anyone is actually going to get up and start acting like people did 50, 100, or 500 years ago. One, we don’t really know how. Two, we hate being forced into a charade of someone that we aren’t.

The past isn’t the answer because it wasn’t the answer then. People of history weren’t perfect. They were sinners. They messed up just as much as we mess up. Imperfect people make up imperfect cultures. Even with all the good that they experienced in the culture, there was much evil. Some of it may have been hidden or simply socially unacceptable. Even though Western civilization has much Christian heritage, it can be difficult to understand which of our traditions are Christian and which of them are purely Western civilization. Yes, we can learn much from historical people and events, but we kid ourselves thinking that they are perfect role models to always imitate.

The past isn’t the answer because change comes from the inside. If the problems in our culture were only skin-deep, they would be easy to fix by acting different. But it’s so much deeper than that—sinful hearts are the problem now, just like they were 267 years ago. It’s a mistake to trust tradition and the past to save us when only Jesus is the lasting solution to every problem in the world.

Just something I’ve been thinking about. Do you agree?

~Rachel Sue

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/urban-spaceman/4395203300/”>DigiTaL~NomAd</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

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One thought on “Refuse to Return

  1. Kaitlin January 4, 2014 / 7:23 pm

    I completely love this, and agree with you totally! I think it’s “easy” to look back at another time–and crow, “Look how messed up everything is! Let’s go back THERE!” But a simple answer isn’t necessarily a correct one. I’ve heard it said that the past is a place of reference, not of residence. But if we gain some knowledge from it…then it would follow, I think, that we’d learn from it’s mistakes, too. Because they’re totally there.

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